undaunted, part 2 {thoughts on living fearlessly}

dear friend, have you ever looked at the things wrong in your life and blamed them on your spouse or your kids? on the people you work with or work for or live near?  so often, i have found myself blaming my perceived and real failures on those i live with and love.  i have fought them as my enemy on what i believed to be my path toward success.  i did not know then that this journey was the next step in my soul’s dare for living fearlessly.

 

(this post is part 2 of a series called undaunted.  here is part 1, if you’d like to begin there.)

it’s not new: even in the garden, eve blamed adam for her sin, and he hurled the blame right back at her.  a professor-turned-dear-friend in college called the human syndrome “hide and hurl.”

i have a friend who reminds me often that if I fight for me, God may not.  in my park-bench, life-changing conversation with my husband one day, i mercifully began to lay down my stones and let my heavenly Father fight my battle.  i believed i was discovering that my husband, in his servant’s heart, had unwittingly strayed from his first calling in work and ministry, in order to help me.  i  believed it so strongly that in that conversation i told him if I never took another photo (our full time career at the time), it was a sacrifice i’d make to see him know confidence in his calling and find great joy in his work.  later that day i set a daily alarm that still sounds each morning, reminding me to pray for him in that way.

although we made a decision together to begin to seek God’s heart for a possible change in his work, answers didn’t come right away.  in fact, it was a looooong time before changes started to happen.

this is where my second life-lesson came in: God may intend to use suffering for our good and His glory.

our move to seek work for my husband outside our photography business was slow going.  at first, we thought we were being called to work alongside a family we knew at a Christian camp much nearer to where my parents lived.  during this time I wrote:

a (our daughter) is excited about a move (one minute), then sad about leaving heart friends.  her brother has been sharing advice with her about coming to peace with God’s leading for our family and for her best, about how she doesn’t need to worry about friendships, that God will work those out. that she will minister to the girls God puts in her life, as they will to her.” (7/7/13)

and a few days later:

“it seems so long we’ve been stuck wandering, this crew of mine, and i feel often the wandering-est. the most lost. i’ve asked friends i trust for wisdom and one suggested, perhaps we’re less in the desert, more in the wilderness.”

and after a deep heart-talk with a devoted and wise friend:

“the desert, she mused, is a place of discipline – the result of broken choices and the place for learning from mistakes. it’s a lonely, hungry, aching place. the wilderness, though, is the place where there is provision (think: the isrealites and the manna…), there is hope for the future, and there is learning; there is fruit from the wandering in the wilderness. if we do not give up hope.” (7/9/14)

 

suffering and glory

during this time I started turning down photography jobs in order to find balance and clear the way for what God was going to do. as finances at times became very tight, tension between us rose.  in an effort to heal our marriage and build healthy patterns, and to be prepared for change, we didn’t make any commitments at our church.  the firstborn, people-pleaser in me ached to let people know i was still a “good Christian.”  so often my fear of others’ opinions rose to choke me and drove me to be ever more hard working and impatient with my precious children and husband.  as things went outside my “plan,” i noticed my tendency to seek validation made me feel desperately lonely because I didn’t have a “visible” role in the body. I wrote:

” what you don’t think about is that the waiting hurts. in the waiting, you realize you’re broken. impatient. fear-driven.
in the waiting, you see your tendencies to self-preservation at the cost of mercy and grace-giving.” (12/10/13)

during this same time, the opportunity for the ministry job feel through – rather suddenly.  our house was on the market, and God seemed to provide work in our field, so I took on just what i felt I could handle, praying hard for the right doors to open and close as I went along.

(a huge life lesson here that learned painfully, is the importance of seeking wisdom from God’s word first, then our husbands, if we are married women, before asking a trusted and godly friend.  i caused myself confusion and got myself into messes when i committed based solely on opinions of others.)
I was challenged during this time to still invest genuinely in relationships even while feeling we would soon be uprooted, and to fight the tendency to withdraw, either because I thought we’d “desert” those connections, or because I was afraid of failing.  i’m so glad i didn’t, because it was in the brokenness that I saw God working to encourage others.

have you ever found that when your sisters found a weakness you shared, they were somehow emboldened to share their own, and so be encouraged?  have you struggled with the tension between the now and the not-yet?

 

i would love to hear and share your experience, as well.

 

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8 Comment

  1. Reply
    Kelly Thompson
    January 27, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    Angela,
    Thanks for sharing your heart and your life so sincerely and transparently. I have been blessed by your writings and ” dancing”.
    Please be encouraged to know that GOD is sovereign in all these matters and HE is working all things together for good and for
    HIS glory. My verse this morning was a homeschool devotional about “Test Days” …how the tests in peoples lives bring out their character. Ps 11:5 says ” The Lord trieth the righteous. ” we must press on and press in for the blessings of God. To know Him and His will our life long journey. I myself am celebrating 25 years of marriage and my 50 th bday later this year which has caused me to really take stock of my life thus far…. The days are long but the years fly by my friend!! God is faithful in this we can cling !!
    For the old rugged cross ,
    Hugs from Florida,
    Kelly Thompson
    PS
    Trying your sweet sausage bake today. Can’t wait!!

    1. Reply
      admin
      January 27, 2015 at 4:07 pm

      Kelly, what an incredible gift to know that God is taking our trials and using them to encourage others. thank you so much for sharing your words of encouragement – what an awesome thing to be “taking stock” and walking forward in faith and faithfulness. i am so blessed by your sharing and taking the time to encourage and be encouraged, too. let me know how you like the sausage, and have a wonderful tuesday!!

    2. Reply
      Kris
      May 30, 2017 at 8:30 pm

      It’s like you’re on a miisson to save me time and money!

  2. Reply
    Nathana
    January 28, 2015 at 5:30 am

    I remember clearly being told that I should never view my husband as the “enemy,” we are always on the same team. However, on hard days, when we disagree, that can be incredibly difficult. We most definitely feel like we are in a desert where we are currently, literally and figuratively. But we know God brought us here for a reason and purpose that we are going to see through until He decides to move us elsewhere. It is scary with a baby on the way. But I trust that God has a plan.
    Nathana recently posted…10 Things I Love About My ManMy Profile

    1. Reply
      admin
      February 3, 2015 at 8:46 pm

      oh, yes, nathana… my prayers are so for and with you, and i’m so grateful for your vulnerable sharing. be blessed, sister. headed over to visit and read your heart!!! hugs – angela

  3. Reply
    Janice Wald
    February 2, 2015 at 1:08 am

    Hi,
    Inspiring topics to think about. I’m getting better at facing fears of the future, I think. Thank you for coming to the Inspire Me Monday Linky party!
    Janice Wald recently posted…How You Can Increase Your Blog Traffic Using TriberrMy Profile

    1. Reply
      admin
      February 3, 2015 at 8:43 pm

      Janice, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts! It’s exciting to hear you’re seeing progress in this area… always forward…

  4. Reply
    Lynell
    May 30, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Woah this blog is mafncgiient i really like reading your articles. Stay up the great paintings! You recognize, a lot of individuals are searching around for this info, you could help them greatly.

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